Safety Leadership in Action

Kerry (Canada) Inc., manufacturer of flavored syrup, recently achieved OSSE (Occupational Safety Standard of Excellence) certification with a successful audit of their Delta, BC facility. OSSE is the Certificate of Recognition for Manufacturers in BC.

Headed by the leadership of Lyn Peterson (Production Manager) and Rob Montgomery (health and safety coordinator), Kerry (Canada) Inc. secured the buy-in from the Kerry team, and upper management in formalizing a health and safety standard.

“Kerry is a big supporter of safety, right from the top of the chain in the east. They start every meeting with safety” says Lyn Peterson. “It has to start at the top. I didn’t have that at a previous employer and we weren’t nearly as effective in implementing change.”

Rob Montgomery was able to impact change with the support of his superiors. “If I’m having trouble with anything I can call my regional manager. I have that buy in from leadership.”

As a health and safety coordinator, Rob put his people skills to use to support the needs of his team. “We are a small plant. I know every employee that we have here and we are all friends. It can be hard to get up close and personal with workers in some of the larger plants. We are a family here.”

This culture of safety and care for each other is evident when mistakes are made. “We always tell people that if someone comes up to them and says, ‘Hey, you’re doing this wrong, or you’ve forgotten that’, to say thank-you and not to get upset. They are just looking out for you. We aren’t here to pick on them, we are there to help them.”

Kerry makes use of ‘Eye for Safety’ cards to address and communicate concerns in their operation. When an employee spots a hazard or any other item that needs attention they fill out a card and submit it to management.

“The key to making our ‘Eyes for Safety’ cards work is ensuring the staff knows we are listening,” says Rob. “We deal with them at our daily operations meeting each morning. We assign it, document it, and communicate it. To make it a little more fun and encourage buy-in we do a draw every month and award a gift card.”

The challenge of achieving OSSE certification was one that Lyn and Rob were ready for. “Working towards OSSE certification put the framework in place for us. The OSSE standard got us organized”, says Lyn. According to Rob, “Tal (Sperling – FIOSA-MIOSA Safety Advisor) was a huge help. She wouldn’t let me off the hook on key issues. If I had any issues, questions or concerns, she was always there to help me.”

Despite the huge undertaking, it was well worth it for Lyn Peterson. “I’d rather be involved in the work of certification than the accident investigation after wondering, ‘what did I do wrong?’ We have had well over 425 days without a lost time incident. We are incredibly proud of this.”